Spurring boom in mass sports

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHUAN TI zhuanti@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Yu Donglin, gen­eral man­ager of Wan­long Ski Re­sort in Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, has seen his busi­ness flour­ish in the two years since China was awarded the 2022 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games.

The num­ber of vis­i­tors from across the countr y in­creased nearly three­fold to 220,000 dur­ing the 2015-16 win­ter sea­son. The re­sort has ex­panded from 8,800 square me­ters to 17,000 sq m.

Wan­long is the epit­ome of the bur­geon­ing ice and snow sports in­dus­try.

In t e r e s t i n t h e W i n t e r Games is spurring growth in the sec­tor, said Zhang Yan, founder of Magic, a ski train­ing in­sti­tute in Bei­jing, which in­tro­duced the state-of-theart train­ing sys­tem from the United States to China.

“It could take us five years to com­plete a de­vel­op­ment path on which oth­ers spent 50 years.”

Lin Xian­peng, deputy dean of the Man­age­ment School at Bei­jing Sport Univer­sity, told Xin­hua News Agency that China is en­ter­ing a golden era for de­vel­op­ing the sec­tor — and em­brac­ing that chance.

There were more than 200 ice rinks and some 500 ski re­sorts na­tion­wide in 2015. The num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties for skat­ing is pro­jected to hit 650, and 800 for ski­ing, in 2022, ac­cord­ing to an in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment plan re­leased by the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport in Novem­ber.

The cen­tral and lo­cal gov­ern­ments have rolled out a se­ries of fa­vor­able poli­cies to pro­mote the pop­u­la­tion of ice and snow sports and en­cour­age the growth of re­lated in­dus­tries.

Bao Mingx­iao, an ex­pert on the sports in­dus­try, said in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, train­ing and mass sports are the pri­or­i­ties in the gov­ern­ment’s pro­mo­tional cam­paign.

Data shows that 11.33 mil­lion Chi­nese peo­ple skied in 2016, an in­crease of 18 per­cent from a year ear­lier.

As the par­tic­i­pant num­ber still ac­counts for less than 1 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion, the mar­ket has huge po­ten­tial for growth, in­dus­try in­sid­ers said.

G i v i n g av e r a g e p e o p l e ac­cess to ski­ing is key to the sus­tain­able growth of the sec­tor, Lin said.

Yi Jian­dong, di­rec­tor of the sport in­dus­try and health man­age­ment pro­gram at Pek­ing Univer­sity’s Na­tional School of De­vel­op­ment, said the au­thor­i­ties and trade as­so­ci­a­tions need to pri­or­i­tize the es­tab­lish­ment of stan­dard­ized sys­tems for equip­ment tech­ni­cal stan­dards and train­ing ser­vices.

Cur­rently, the ma­jor­ity of the Chi­nese par­tic­i­pants con­sider ski­ing a one-time tourist ex­pe­ri­ence, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

But Lin noted that ski­ing need not be con­sid­ered “just a sport”.

“It could be a life­style, or an op­tion for a fam­ily hol­i­day tour. With this in mind to de­sign and run a ski re­sort, the ski sec­tor will see a marked im­prove­ment in its of­fer­ings, as it can be re­lated to hos­pi­tal­ity, din­ing, spas and en­ter­tain­ment.”

Yi added: “Sports has close ties with ed­u­ca­tion. Ice and snow sports can­not flour­ish un­til they find a niche on cam­pus.”

“Only af­ter peo­ple are im­mersed in the ice and snow sports cul­ture can the sec­tor be sus­tained.”

Chi­nese peo­ple went ski­ing last year

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chil­dren play ice hockey, as part of a win­ter sports fes­ti­val in Bei­jing last year. As China is step­ping up prepa­ra­tions for the 2022 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games, ice and snow sports are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar na­tion­wide.

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